No Need to Speed - Road Safety Week 2020

It is Road Safety Week this week (16th to 22nd November) both in the UK and Worldwide, and I am mindful that it’s been several months since I wrote about road safety, as the global Covid-19 pandemic became the focus of our attentions.

COVID has changed the world we live in and our approach to the disease at a global level is unprecedented. Never has the human race united to such a degree in an endeavour to overcome a problem.

Here’s some interesting statistics.
To date, there have been 1.32 million deaths from COVID worldwide. 
More than 1.35 million people die on the worlds roads every year.

Similar numbers, and tragic losses that only have true meaning to us when it involves someone we know. It’s just big numbers otherwise.

As we have moved through the past few months of lockdown and social distancing the reality of the COVID pandemic has started to sink in and now, perhaps, all of us know someone who has suffered it. Likewise, prior to 2020, almost all of us knew someone who had been in a car crash.

If the world treated road safety as if it were a pandemic, we might all have to work from home, not visit friends or family, shop only for essentials, and not have a drink or meal out, to reduce our exposure to the risk of a road crash. We cannot wash the road safety pandemic off our hands, even if many governments seem to.

Through the spring and summer, when lockdown was at its strictest, there was a significant reduction in road crashes across Europe as there were many less vehicles on our roads. Notably, the severity of the crashes that did happen increased as some drivers that ventured out used the reduced congestion as an excuse to drive faster.

Road safety may have become less prominent in the eyes of the world through the pandemic, but I am pleased to report that the work has continued. All the meetings of my ISO and BSI committee meetings have taken place as planned, albeit by Zoom rather than by travelling to conferences, and the global work continues.

You may recall from my last blog that in February the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety took place in Sweden. The conference resolved to reaffirm its full commitment to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda, and especially those goals relating to Road Traffic Safety

In August 2020 the United Nations General Assembly declared the period 2021–2030 as the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50 per cent from 2021 to 2030 (resolution A/RES/74/299. This resolution complements Sustainability Development Goal 3.6 and calls upon businesses and industries of all sizes and sectors to contribute to the attainment of the road safety-related SDG, including by applying safe system principles to their entire value chain. The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/74/299 also endorses the resolution of the Swedish Conference from February, now known as the Stockholm declaration, which points out more specific actions to reduce road fatalities and which is highly related to the work of the ISO and BSI committees, of which I am honoured to be a member.

So here, at the start of International Road Safety Week as the company focuses upon its own sustainability agenda, I would urge all you to think about road safety when making a journey. Turn off your phone, concentrate on the quality of your driving, and be kind to, and mindful of, all other road users.